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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:12 PM   #1
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Default Slowly step away from the tractor

For some reason, seems odd to put a tractor specific thread in motoring but, hey, it has a motor.

Yesterday was awful. Short version.

1965-1970 5000 series diesel Ford tractor. Hydraulic issues (bucket lift ability declining until no longer able to lift at all). Run through recommended troubleshooting tests to no avail. Neighbor gets home from work and says he'll be right over; asks me to start her up so he can see how it is (or isn't) working. Do so, but neglect to check fuel levels. Did I mention diesel? Tractor runs out of fuel. Great. So instead of working on the hydraulic system, we spend the next few hours getting air out of the fuel system. Bring out the boost charger to keep the battery functional. Sounds like we're getting close. Did I mention its been raining off / on the last few days? Downpour commences so we put it on charge, cover the tractor, and wait out the monsoon.

Its 8pm when it stops raining. Head back out, friend comes back over and we start again. New problem has cropped up. Starter gets the motor chugging a few times then "whirrrrr". Then it starts clunking. Sounds like the starter bendix is crapping out. Okay, add fuel system to hydraulic system to "do later" list, and pull the starter.

So, to recap. Have tractor that won't start and won't lift its bucket. Its sitting down in the orchard a good 300' from the nearest power; placement couldn't be much worse for working on it, and no way to pull it out of there with bucket and scrapper down. Way I'm going, I'll get the starter fixed just to have something else crap out. Good times!

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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:16 PM   #2
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My advice ....

Grab yourself a case of beer and find a good spot to sit and stare at it a while.


Works every time.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:18 PM   #3
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I don't drink, but this may change that!
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:25 PM   #4
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Sounds like you need to either;
A. Do a complete overhaul of the tractor
B. Invest in a new tractor

I'll send better luck your way.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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You need a bigger hammer.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uber_Tiny View Post
Sounds like you need to either;
A. Do a complete overhaul of the tractor
B. Invest in a new tractor

I'll send better luck your way.
I'm thinking that's a bit of an overreaction lol - the fuel issue is operator error and just needs to be worked through. Hydraulic system - well, that's a maintenance issue - checking hydraulic fluid levels, hoses and what-not. Hydraulic piston appears to be fine (bucket doesn't drop over time) so shouldn't be anything too major. Starter, well, its a ~45yr old tractor and parts do go out. $145 for a new starter or somewhat less to rebuild. Personally, like having this old beast - its hugely powerful, fairly easy to work on, and maintenance is a fraction of the cost of a new tractor with similar capabilities.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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How often do you change the Hydraulic Fluid? When was the last time you changed the filters?
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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Always check the wooden fuses and muffler bearings first, its usually the source of many mechanical problems.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:23 PM   #9
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Is the pump building enough pressure, or we haven't gotten that far yet?

Also, the valving off the lever to actuate the pump and bucket lift. Are we sure that is not clogged or malfunctioning in some other manner?
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefoo21 View Post
How often do you change the Hydraulic Fluid? When was the last time you changed the filters?
Fluid was fully changed several months before I bought it back in August 2010. Before I ran the silly thing out of diesel, I checked the hydraulic fluid by opening the drain plugs just enough to let some seep out - theory being that, after sitting for a couple days, any sediment or water should be settled at the bottom, and be the first thing out. Both drain plugs seeped hydraulic fluid that was a nice light brown / tan in color - which indicates the fluid itself is in good shape.

Of concern is that, when I opened the level plug, quite a bit came out - which indicates that it possibly was overfilled ... seems counter-intuitive to me, since the behavior would seem to indicate that the tractor is low on fluid and I know that some has been leaking out of a failing hose connector. After talking at length with a very knowledgeable old fellow as we tried to ID the tractor (its regrettably lacking on markings, which is why I can only say its between 1965 - 1970), he told me that overfilling can be worse than being low, since the gears churn the fluid up, creating bubbles. Anyway, the tractor isn't sitting level, so hard to say how accurate the level plug is at gauging fluid level right now.

Going to pick up the new starter today, and (hopefully) finish bleeding air out of the fuel system after work so that we can get back to focusing on the hydraulic system.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VW_Factor View Post
Is the pump building enough pressure, or we haven't gotten that far yet?

Also, the valving off the lever to actuate the pump and bucket lift. Are we sure that is not clogged or malfunctioning in some other manner?
This is exactly what I'm thinking.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 01:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VW_Factor View Post
Is the pump building enough pressure, or we haven't gotten that far yet?

Also, the valving off the lever to actuate the pump and bucket lift. Are we sure that is not clogged or malfunctioning in some other manner?
It wouldn't surprise me at all if there is an issue in the valve pump / bucket lift assembly. Those bits are a disorganized mess, so this will be a good time to pull everything apart to check for issues then put things back together where they should be (lift / drop hoses connected to the wrong connectors). Makes operating the front attachments a nightmare even when things are working.

Also note that, unlike how it would come if the loader was factory, this is a shared system where the same hydraulic pump is used for both the loader as well as the 3 point. To me, that eliminates the pump as being an issue, as the 3 point has always been very strong ... only now, after losing hydraulic fluid, is the 3 point showing any weakness. AFAIK I need to 1) determine whether or not I need to add fluid, 2) check pressure on the loader hoses, 3) make sure none of the pistons up front are leaking. #s 1 & 3 should be pretty easy, once the machine is running again. #2 more difficult since I don't have the proper pressure tool, so will have to find one / buy one to do that check.

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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:06 PM   #13
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I'd be willing to bet you can rent a pressure tester tool from a hydraulic shop somewhere close.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupine View Post
Of concern is that, when I opened the level plug, quite a bit came out - which indicates that it possibly was overfilled
Also if the hoses are quite old they could have swelled a bit (inner closing and outer getting bigger in diameters).
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:12 PM   #15
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I suppose the following action plan is out:

1. Visit nearby militant survivalist neighbor
2. Borrow LAW and some earplugs
3. Blow tractor the *#&! up
4. Buy new tractor
5. ???
6. Profit

(had to do it, I'm sorry)
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 09:20 PM   #16
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Buy one of those

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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:06 AM   #17
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Relatively successful evening. We installed the replacement starter and, after 15min or so of working fuel through, were able to get her running.

We found what we think is the rear end level, and nary a drop of hydraulic fluid came out when opened. We added 5gal of fluid and, though still nothing from the assumed level came out, both loader and 3 point lifted smoothly. I'm going to pick up another 5gal (come in 2.5gal containers) tomorrow - probably won't use it all but a good thing to have on hand. Man is that stuff spendy (to me) @ $33/2.5gal.

Filled up my 4x 5gal diesel containers ($90 used to buy so much more ), which should get us through most if not all of the summer ... will do a much better job tracking fuel levels after this (one would sure hope so). Topped off ATF and checked oil and coolant levels (both fine).

I say relatively successful because, after all that, I went to move another load of bark dust and the tractor coughed out again. No idea why ... plenty of fuel and lines were all bled. Neighbor advised to go ahead and replace the fuel filters, just in case. If that doesn't do it, will open her back up and re-bleed the lines, just in case more air got in somehow (which seems impossible). Still, she was running well for a good hour or so, so I expect I'll be able to quickly diagnose and remedy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW_Factor View Post
I'd be willing to bet you can rent a pressure tester tool from a hydraulic shop somewhere close.
Good point. I'll call around tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW_Factor View Post
Also if the hoses are quite old they could have swelled a bit (inner closing and outer getting bigger in diameters).
Most of the hoses look quite new, though several are suspect and are on my replacement list.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:20 AM   #18
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That tractor seems to be riding high. Have you considered lowering it?
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Always check the wooden fuses and muffler bearings first, its usually the source of many mechanical problems.
don't forget the canuter valve
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 01:11 AM   #20
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don't forget the canuter valve
Hrm, that's worth looking into ... could be what caused the muffler bearings to seize.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 01:47 AM   #21
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Cows, or Bison.

Its you only option.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:09 PM   #22
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The majority of the time, hydraulic issues with our forklifts and other equipment are either hose, pump or cylinder seal related. My guess is the latter simply because that is typically the case with me

You'll probably have to get your hydraulic cylinders rebuilt, as the seals are probably leaking around the piston rod.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:25 PM   #23
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That tractor is rocking a shared hydraulic system probably, so it could be many places where it's leaking.

If they system is holding the bucket up while off, without drooping, I'd say the hydraulic cylinder seals probably aren't the culprit this time.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefoo21 View Post
If they system is holding the bucket up while off, without dropping, I'd say the hydraulic cylinder seals probably aren't the culprit this time.
You're right; I didn't notice he mentioned the bucket doesn't drop.
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Old May 1, 2012, 11:49 AM   #25
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Next ...



Bled the lines etc to no avail. Everything pointing to fuel pump failure which, if true, isn't so bad since its a relatively cheap part. If the rain holds off, will install this evening.

Still kicking myself for not checking the fuel tank filter screen when the tank was dry. Will look for some sort of a pump config to drain the tank before the fall so I can clean the tank out properly.

Speaking of kicking myself, didn't realize there is a filling station near here that sells farm diesel - the road tax and other fees add up in a hurry, so nice to know that I'll be saving quite a bit on fuel from here on out.
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Old May 7, 2012, 01:30 AM   #26
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Need to do the ploughing without the tractor.
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Old May 8, 2012, 03:02 PM   #27
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This is the one I drive (not the exact one, same model).

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Old May 8, 2012, 03:28 PM   #28
Sazar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Och View Post
Buy one of those

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Old May 8, 2012, 03:34 PM   #29
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I won't refuse a gifted tractor but, for now, will stick w/ my old Ford 5000 tyvm lol.
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